(presidentialwire.com)- The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Monday evening that Biogen, a pharmaceutical firm based in Massachusetts, will pay $900 million to settle claims that the business bribed doctors to prescribe the company’s multiple sclerosis medications.
According to the DOJ, the lawsuit was initially filed by a former worker named Michael Bawduniak. Bawduniak claimed that the defendant company offered or paid out kickbacks in the form of speaking fees and consultancy fees, which resulted in false claims being made to Medicaid and Medicare. According to reports, the False Claims Act, which dates back to the Civil War, allows private individuals to file on behalf of the federal government in exchange for a portion of the recovered funds. Bawduniak was awarded approximately $250 million of the $843.8 million to the federal government. The remaining $56.2 million will be divided among 15 states.
“Biogen disputes all accusations brought in this action,” the firm said in a statement given to the Daily Caller News Foundation. The company claimed that Biogen believes its intent and conduct were at all times lawful and proper. Biogen mentioned that the United States government did not “intervene” directly in the case and that a settlement is not the same as an admission of guilt.
In a news release issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, who is in charge of the Civil Division, stated that “[Bawduniak] relentlessly pursued this matter on behalf of the United States for more than seven years.”
The DOJ said that the announced settlement demonstrates how vital the role of whistleblowers is in supplementing the United States’ use of the False Claims Act to combat fraud that affects federal healthcare systems.
The lawsuit’s decision was reached not long after research was published alleging that certain pharmaceutical firms circumvented anti-kickback restrictions by donating to nonprofits that would purchase their medicines. Companies are accused of violating anti-kickback regulations by making charitable contributions to organizations that support the treatment of diseases for which there are few available solutions.
The Department of Justice did not provide an instant response when asked for a statement by the DCNF.